News / Africa

Kenya Orders Somali Refugees to Go Home

Newly arrived Somali refugees ride a donkey along the street at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, October 19, 2011.
Newly arrived Somali refugees ride a donkey along the street at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, October 19, 2011.
Somali refugees living in Kenya are returning to Somalia by the hundreds after the Kenyan government ordered them to go back home.  The Kenyan government says the presence of Somali refugees has led to the deterioration of security in the country.  The Somalis themselves fear a government crackdown. 

This week, the Kenyan government began relocating more than 50,000 Somalis living in Kenyan cities back to overcrowded and under-serviced refugee camps near the border, citing security concerns.  Thousands are also being flown back to Somalia.

The government directive targets people like Anab Duale, a mother of six who fled Somalia twelve years ago to escape fighting over the disputed territory between Somaliland and Puntland where she lived.

She says when she first arrived in Kenya it was a peaceful place and its people treated her and the Somali people well.

“To be honest with you life was good here, Kenyan people were good people, but now the public have turned against us," said Anab. "They just came with a ruling that has made people run away day and night.  Police are even coming storming residential areas to arrest people.”

Kenyan authorities began sweeping Somali neighborhoods following a series of grenade attacks targeting bus stations, mosques and churches last year.  Kenyan officials have blamed the attacks on the Somali militant group al-Shabab and its sympathizers, and have arrested hundreds of people suspected of being involved.

Anab says she does not want to move back to Somalia, but that the police pressure in Nairobi has made life here too difficult.

“The police are still making arrests," she said.  "The other night they were just here arresting boys especially.  I am saying they have to work on the security of the country and maintain the peace we once had.”

It is noticeably quieter these days in the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh.  Many of the vendors and shops in this predominantly-Somali area have shut down in recent months, and the streets are nearly deserted.

Thirty-six-year-old Hassan Hashi says he has been forced to close down his business and that he is ready to go back home.

Hashi says he doesn't work now and the security situation has deteriorated.  He says merchants he used to take goods from have refused to sell goods to him when they heard that people were returning back to Somalia.  And he says he has decided to go back home because police are arresting people 24 hours a day.

The Somali embassy in Kenya has been busy for the last three months issuing thousands of travel documents to people like Hashi who have volunteered to return to Somalia.

Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya says the number of flights going to Somalia has increased.  He says there are at least two flights a day from Kenya to Mogadishu with each flight carrying 150 to 180 passengers.    

The ambassador characterizes the travel as a good thing, saying it is a sign his country is moving toward being a peaceful and stable nation, after years of civil war.

Kenya's decision to relocate refugees has been condemned by the United Nations refugee agency and and human rights organizations.  The rights groups say the decision to forcibly place refugees and asylum seekers in camps away from urban centers is a discriminatory and unlawful restriction on freedom of movement.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid